MATHIEU DEBUCHY insists he has “no regrets” about joining Newcastle United.
And having admitted to personal difficulty in adapting to the physicality of the Premier League, the Frenchman is confident the Magpies now boast a robust collective foundation ahead of next season. Debuchy made a £5.5 million move from Lille in January.
Pre-warned by long-term friend and new team-mate Yohan Cabaye about the rigorous demands of the English game, the 27-year-old concedes a “big step” exists between Ligue 1 and this country’s top flight.
But having finally helped Newcastle avoid relegation to the Championship last weekend, Debuchy believes the experience can benefit the club for the 2013-14 campaign.
“Since January, I have discovered many things and I really have no regrets about coming to Newcastle,” said Debuchy.
“When we arrived, me and the other new signings knew that Newcastle were not in a good situation. Yo (Cabaye) explained to me that here, all the matches are tough.
“I’ve realised that quickly. There was the Europa League, which took a lot of energy,
even though we are not going to hide behind that. Physically, it is a big step for the French between the two leagues. You have to be prepared. I felt it from my first matches. It is full-on from the beginning to the end.
“So we knew it would be tough to the end. Well, it has been.”
And after recent talk of a rift in the dressing room, Debuchy added his name to the list of players who have dismissed the notion.
“No, there is nothing broken, there is nothing like that,” he said.
“Since January, I’ve never read the English Press, so I do not know. But in France, they must surely talk. They will say ‘Newcastle signed many (French players) and there are no results’.
“But now I hope we have a good foundation for next season, with a strong group in place.”
That group seems unlikely to include Wayne Rooney, however.
United awoke yesterday to a report on the new Sports Direct News website claiming the club were preparing a bid for the striker.
In 2004, former chairman Freddy Shepherd failed in £25 million bid for the then-18-year-old Everton starlet, whose transfer request was rejected by Manchester United at the weekend.
“Newcastle see Wayne as their ideal player,” a “source close to the negotiations” was quoted as saying.
“He’s a strong centre-forward, would relate to the fans and would be a massive boost to the club’s brand name.
“Low-level conversations have already been held between Newcastle and Rooney’s agent, though the two clubs haven’t spoken directly yet.”
However, while attempts to contact Newcastle for comment yesterday proved unsuccessful, the claims have been played down by Rooney’s representatives.
Further sources yesterday suggested Borussia Dortmund have targeted Papiss Cisse as a replacement for Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, and linked United, along with Southampton and Arsenal, with Anderlecht’s 23-year-old Senegal international Cheikhou Kouyate, who can play in defence or midfield.
Meanwhile, Ryan Taylor flew to the US yesterday and will have surgery on his second cruciate ligament injury tomorrow.
The 28-year-old suffered the original complaint last August and was close to a return to action last month when the injury recurred.